One of the most common questions my clients ask me is, “What is wrong with me?”.
The quickest answer to that is…….. NOTHING.
As human beings, when we experience trauma, abuse, or difficult life circumstances, our brains work to help protect us from the negative feelings that have resulted from these experiences.
All behaviour is purposeful and has a meaning behind it. Generally speaking, our brains do not make mistakes unless there is a brain injury or an illness that changes brain function like dementia. Symptoms of anxiety and depression serve a purpose. If you think of the symptoms of depression, such as staying in bed, avoiding social gathering, not feeling motivated to work, and so on, this is our brain telling us that we need to take time to rest. As human beings, we can only take so much. If we are not taking care of ourselves and giving our body what it needs, our body will find a way to get what it needs.
Our brains tend to look for patterns. When we have been through challenging or traumatic events, our brains start to look for hints that something like this may be about to occur again and it looks for ways to protect us from feeling that again. When we are anxious we tend to over think things and to seek control in certain areas of our lives. This is our brains way of protecting us from feeling like we are helpless or out of control like we may have felt in the past.
The most important thing to understand is that there is nothing wrong with you, you are not “broken”. Instead of asking “What is wrong with me”, ask yourself, “What is my body trying to tell me”. You are responding the way you are designed to respond to the events and circumstances around you and there is hope. The more we understand why we are responding the way we are, the more we are able to change our thoughts and our behaviours and work to feel better.
Amy Shaw, MSW, RSW
B. Skinner Coaching & Psychotherapy